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Gaston County History: Cities & Towns: Belmont




See TopoQuest map.

See current census information.

Official city website.

A store and home built by Abraham Stowe in 1865 served as the nucleus of the present day city of Belmont. As with many other communities, development was spurred by the building of the Atlanta & Richmond Air Line across the area. The original depot was built by an engineer named John Garibaldi and the stop was originally the Garibaldi Station. A post office was established in 1874 with Alex Beatty, a local storekeeper, as the first postmaster.


In 1872, Father Jeremiah J. O'Connell, a Catholic priest, bought the 500 acre Greene Washington Caldwell plantation where he hoped to establish a school. He donated the property to the Benedictine Order and they sent a small group of monks who founded Maryhelp, an abbey and a farm. This became the present Belmont Abbey College. The Sisters of Mercy started a girls' school in 1892 which became Sacred Heart College.

The station's name was changed to Belmont in 1886 and the city was incorporated in 1895. Will Puett was the first mayor.

In 1900 Belmont was the only Gaston County city without a cotton mill, but the building of the Chronicle Mill in 1901 by Robert Lee Stowe and associates Abel Caleb Lineberger and Samuel Pinckney Stowe started a massive development of an eventual seventeen mills. (See our research guide, Textile Heritage of Gaston County.)

Belmont population:

  • 1890 -- no count; 1900 -- 145; 1910 -- 1,176;
  • 1920 -- 2,942; 1930 -- 4,121; 1940 -- 4,350;
  • 1950 -- 5,330; 1960 -- 5,007; 1970 -- 5,054;
  • 1980 -- 4,607; 1990 -- 8,434; 2000 -- 8,794;
  • 2010- -- 10,076.


In Belmont: Belmont Historic District; Belmont Abbey College; Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden; Belmont Historical Society museum and activities; Mercy Heritage Center, national archives of the Sisters of Mercy.
The city puts on several annual festivals.

Belmont historical resources:

    • Early History of Belmont and Gaston County, North Carolina, by R. L. Stowe Sr.,( pub. 1951), call # 975.677 Sto NCC.
    • Footprints on the Rough Side of the Mountain : an African-American Niche in the History of a Southern Textile City, by Oscar DePriest Hand, Sr. and Julia Neal Sykes, (pub. 1997), call #: 975.004 Han NCC
    • Between Two Rivers : the Centennial of Belmont, North Carolina by Ross Yockey, (pub. 1996), call #: 975.677 Yoc NCC
    • From This Red Clay Hillside : the Eagle: 1924-1950, edited by Betty M. Hinson, (pub. 1997), call #: 975.6773 Fro NCC
    • The First Hundred Years : Belmont Abbey College, 1876-1976, by John P. Bradley (pub. 1976), call #: 271.1 B NCC
    • History of Gastonia and Gaston County, by Robert Allison Ragan (pub. 2010), call #: 975.677 Rag NCC, particularly p. 539-546.
  • For a detailed list of city directories, see our guide City Directories.


Belmont online resources:

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